“Ambitious” by Jack Harlow

We’re continuing our look at Jack Harlow’s LP “Jackman”, which was released on 28 April 2023, this time around by analyzing the third track on its playlist, a song titled “Ambitious”. This track was produced and co-written by Goldy Jr alongside Wallis Lane, which is the collective name of the musical duo consisting of Farsi and Nizzy. The other writers of this song, besides Jack Harlow, are Tony Miller, Keith Echols and Alice Sanderson.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Jack Harlow's Ambitious at Lyrics.org.

To note, “Ambitious” samples an old tune by an obscure R&B group called 7th Wonder, with the name of said track being “Climbing Higher”. However, it does not readily appear that any members of that band or associated with that outing are also credited as writers of Jack Harlow’s piece.

“Jackman” marks Harlow’s fifth album overall (including a couple of EPs) to be backed by Atlantic Records and one of its subsidiaries, Generation Now, both of which he signed to in 2018.

The Lyrics of “Ambitious”

As of the dropping of this track, Jack Harlow just turned 25-years old about a month ago and has been a certified music star for about three years. But this being a come-up song, the rapper uses the opportunity to harp back to his earlier, pre-fame days, such as the first verse, which is dedicated to when Harlow was being an “ambitious 14-year old”, i.e. the start of his career.

Back then he didn’t have any wealth to speak of. His budding music career was relegated to rockin’ an occasional local show, and Harlow’s fanbase consisted of only “15 high school chicks”. But again, young Jack was an ambitious lad, and throughout he was looking forward to the day when he would make it big.

Jack Blows Up!

Fast forward to the second verse, and now we’re met with an “ambiguous 19-year old” Harlow. Jack would’ve turned 19 in early 2017, which was more or less around the time he blew up. For instance, the following year he signed to the aforementioned labels. 

And in early 2020 he dropped “Whats Poppin”, which would prove to be Harlow’s breakthrough song and one of the biggest hits of that year. 

So as depicted, circa the age of 19 he was now making dough but still being more akin to a ghetto superstar than garnering global attention. So at this point, his ambition was still manifest in striving for a bigger payday, so to speak.

Jack writes “Ambitious” whilst keeps going Higher

Finally in the third verse we find Harlow at 24, i.e. the age he was when this song was written. By this point in his career, Jack followed up “Whats Poppin” with a couple more multi-platinum hits such as “Tyler Herro” (2020) and of course “First Class” (2022). 

So following the trajectory of the lyrics, we see that he went from a local boy with big dreams to now hard chillin’ in Europe, and instead of being an obscure fill-in at music festivals, now Jack is headlining them. Yet and still, he “can’t stop hustling”. 

And what that means to this artist at this stage in his career is that instead of focusing on the frills – like “acting” as some popular rappers are known to do – he’s dedicated to proving himself “the best” lyricist in the game.

So whereas Harlow does use “Ambitious” to spend an ample amount of time pointing to his very-successful music career, classifying this song as braggadocious may be a bit of a stretch. It’s more as if the main message being put forth is not no matter how many records this Jack sells or how many arenas he fills, his ambition remains, and he’s not going to lose sight of the main goal.

Or explained alternatively, there are different types of artists in the industry. Some may rely more on the likes of marketing and imagery to sell their product. But Harlow’s mentality seems to be that he attributes his success to actually striving to be the best rapper he can be. As such, the implied conclusion here is that if he continues to get better, the paychecks also will proceed to get larger.

“Ambitious fourteen-year-old
Grades goin’ down as I’m stackin’ up zeros
But not the dinero
Peach fuzz comin’ in
Cool kid, but my hair cut like I’m a weirdo
Peyton Siva, Montrezl Harrell
Scuffed-up kicks, Old Navy my apparel
And I’m cummin’ in my girl like I’m sterile
Totaled my whip, I thought I had the green arrow
I was never meant to be a college applicant
F–k I look like goin’ to college after this”

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